Lilly Fowler of Salon.com recently parachuted into "Wiley World."
That would be the nickame for the domain of pastor Wiley Drake of the First Southern Baptist Church of Buena Park. As Clockwork and other Weeklings have blogged since President Barack Obama's election, Drake has become either more devout or unhinged in his faith by calling on the courts to unseat the commander-in-chief and later calling on God to take him out. (And, no, the reverend doesn't want this accomplished through impeachment.)
Did Fowler ever pick a Sunday to visit Drake's church.
The particular Sunday I visited First Southern Baptist Church was the weekend following the Fort Hood tragedy, when U.S. Army psychiatrist, and Muslim, Maj. Nidal M. Hasan, shot and killed 13 people.
"Ladies and gentlemen," Drake said as he addressed the group of about 60 gathered in Buena Park that evening, just down the street from Knott's Berry Farm. "If they're a Muslim, they're a danger to this country."
While the preceding may have read un-Christian to some, such statements are, as Fowler puts it, "a dime a dozen in 'Wiley World.'"
No, she was after more meat, like the aforementioned death prayer invoked on Alan Colmes' radio show in June. Fowler was trying to get at a perceived proliferation in the use of "imprecatory prayers" at this particular time, during this particular presidency.
Drake, of course, did not disappoint.
With his gray hair slicked back and a slightly pinkish complexion, Drake sported suspenders and glasses as he explained that his decision to use imprecatory prayers stemmed from a desire to better organize his early morning telephonic prayer meetings. Drake decided praying the Psalms would be one way of redirecting these sessions. But soon, he came to Psalm 109: "May his days be few; may another take his place of leadership. May his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow."
"That's the one that got me in trouble," Drake says now.
The problem is that Drake began to recite this prayer, and others like it, while keeping certain people in mind. In the case of Psalm 109? President Barack Obama.
As Clockwork previously did here, the reporter ties Drake in with the imprecatory prayers issued by pastor Steve Anderson of Faithful World Baptist Church in Tempe, Arizona. (Check him out in this local television news report tussling with Stephen Lemons, who used to write for this paper and now gives 'em hell at our sister paper Phoenix New Times.)
Incidentally, Drake tells Fowler something I don't recall seeing previously in Orange County media reports (certainly not ours): the he "regrets" the media frenzy caused by the Colmes interview.
Of course, in the same breath, Drake stands by his use of imprecatory prayer.
That's more like our man Wiley!
She concludes by tagging on this, as if just learning about it after writing everything previous in her piece:
Drake has just recently lifted his call for imprecatory prayer against the president, but only because he wants Obama to live long enough to stand trial for treason.
That's not what the Weekly's Spencer Kornhaber and the Associated Baptist Press just reported. They note Drake attributed his change of heart to the "spiritual counsel" of James David Manning, pastor at ATLAH World Missionary Church in New York, who received a visit from the Department of Homeland Security after a recent video message in which he advised people who strongly oppose Obama to "be ready to die." Americans United for the Separation of Church and State have also sought an IRS investigation of Manning for possibly violating rules that prohibit tax-exempt charities from electioneering.
The Southern Baptist Convention, which once knew Drake as its vice president, has distanced itself from imprecatory prayer, with president Johnny Hunt going so far as it call it unbiblical.
Even if the men of God seem to be backing off, their flocks are not, according to Fowler's piece:
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There are other signs imprecatory prayer is growing in popularity. Beliefnet's Rabbi Brad Hirschfield writes that Psalm 109 is now a top Google search; it's even inspired a line of bumper stickers and T-shirts that sinisterly read "Pray for Obama," while pointing to the Psalm, and in particular, the passage that calls for an end to present leadership, though Gawker
recently noted that CafePress, popular purveyor of homemade T-shirts, has stopped selling the items.
Wascally Wiley still argues he's in good company as Martin Luther and John Calvin were both adherents to imprecatory prayer.
Let's see, there are Lutherans, Calvinists . . . does this mean Drakers are next? Drakerans, Drakeolics, Wileyterians--as long as they keep filling the plates Sundays in Buena Park, you know someone's prayers are being answered.